*****FIRST ACTION STEP: SUBMIT A COMMENT TO THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS*****
While the president and the Department of the Army are pressuring the Army Corps of Engineers to expedite the granting of the easement for DAPL to drill under the Missouri River, the Corps has stated that “The Assistant Secretary for the Army Civil Works will make a decision on the pipeline once a full review and analysis is completed” (Malcolm Frost, Chief of Public Affairs, US Army, on Feb 1, 2017). The most crucial thing YOU CAN DO is to submit a comment for the Army Corps of Engineers to consider when compiling its Environmental Impact Statement. PLEASE DO THIS RIGHT NOW, it is the most direct and impactful thing you can do to help. Here is the info on how to submit a comment, copied from the official Federal Register website:
"You may mail or hand deliver written comments to Mr. Gib Owen, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, 108 Army Pentagon, Washington, DC 20310-0108. Advance arrangements will need to be made to hand deliver comments. Please include your name, return address, and “NOI Comments, Dakota Access Pipeline Crossing” on the first page of your written comments. Comments may also be submitted via email to Mr. Gib Owen, at email@example.com. If emailing comments, please use “NOI Comments, Dakota Access Pipeline Crossing” as the subject of your email."
Here is some sample text for your comment from the Sierra Club:
Thank you for preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) route. The fast tracking of DAPL under Nationwide Permit 12 failed to allow for environmental review and critical input from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, local landowners, and the public. This EIS is an important step in the right direction. The Army Corp’s review of the Dakota Access fracked oil pipeline must at least evaluate the following:
- The entire length of the pipeline must be evaluated to include the full scope of the project, not just the Lake Oahe easement.
- The impacts of oil spills and emergency response capabilities along the entire route must be considered, particularly with regard to the impacts on drinking water supplies and biodiversity across the entire route.
- The Corps must consider the cultural impacts along the full length of the pipeline including the effects on Tribal lands, burial grounds, and archaeological sites.
- The Corps must consult with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and evaluate how this pipeline would affect their drinking water, health, culture, and way of life. This pipeline was already routed away from Bismarck to protect the water supply of this majority white, more affluent community. The Army Corps must include environmental justice as part of their evaluation to ensure that low-income communities of color aren't left to bear the risk.
- The Corps must evaluate alternative routes that would avoid Sioux ancestral and treaty lands and other culturally and environmentally significant areas.
*****SECOND ACTION STEP: ORGANIZE AN ACTION WHERE YOU LIVE*****
At this point it is more impactful for you to organize a local prayer action where you live than for you to travel to Standing Rock. To organize a peaceful, non-violent prayer action that is in accordance with the principles laid out by both the Standing Rock elders and Lakota prophecy, follow these steps:
1. Select a highly visible public location for your action. Good locations include in front of a bank that is funding the pipeline, a local office of the Army Corps of Engineers, or high-traffic public areas.
2. Call your friends and invite them to join you.
3. Register your actoin at http://everydayofaction.org/
4. Make signs and banners so that people passing by know why you are gathered.
5. At your action, pray. Pray in your own tradition, pray however you can pray the hardest. (Do not appropriate or mimic Native American prayer traditions unless you are an enrolled member of a tribe). Pray with music, drumming, song, and dance if that calls to you.
6. All actions associated with Standing Rock must be centered in non-violence. If you are threatened or taunted by passers-by or law enforcement, please gently remind them that you are defending clean water for them and their children and grandchildren. You can even ask them to join you in prayer.
*****THIRD ACTION STEP: DIVEST*****
DAPL is funded by nearly all the major banks. Basically, if you bank anywhere other than a local credit union, your money is being used to fund DAPL or other similar environmental disasters across the world. Please move your money to a local credit union. You can review the banks involved with DAPL and post the amount of money you've moved out of them at this website: http://www.defunddapl.org/defund
*****FOURTH ACTION STEP: DONATE*****
If you are able to send money to the Water Protectors on the ground at Standing Rock, I recommend you support the Medic and Healer Council and the Water Protector Legal Defense Fund:
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has already received 6 million dollars in donations, most of which is being saved for the legal battle with the Federal Government over this pipeline. If the easement for the pipeline is granted, they may need even more funds, but until more unfolds, I would not donate to them right now.
It's not clear to me who is currently administering the Oceti Sakowin Camp paypal fund or whether that money is being distributed fairly in the camps. However, their page does have a very specific list of what items they need:
The most urgent need in this season is always dry firewood. You need a special permit to transport firewood into North Dakota (due to tree pest issues), but I believe the compressed sawdust fuel bricks sold at Lowe's and Menards are legal to send there.
*****FIFTH ACTION STEP: PRAY*****
The Standing Rock elders have been asking for your prayers, above all else, from the start of this movement. Have you actually taken the time to pray for justice on this issue every day? Please do this. It will keep us focused on the change we want to create in the world, in a time when it's all too easy to to get distracted by shock and fear. In the Lakota tradition, prayer is the source of all strength and fortitude. When you ground your actions in prayer, you are doing this work in a good way.
*****ADVICE FOR THOSE CONSIDERING TRAVELING TO STANDING ROCK*****
For most people, it is going to be more helpful for you to stay in your home community, do local activism about DAPL, and send the funds you would have used to travel to North Dakota directly to the Water Protectors (see the fourth action step, above).
If you want to travel to the Water Protector camps, you should know that the leaders of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have asked all Water Protectors at all the camps to leave (and claim they will set up a roadblock to keep people out after Feb 19th). However, many indigenous leaders within the Water Protector camps disagree, and think we still need people on the ground there, perhaps now more than ever.
You should also know that Oceti Sakowin Camp and Rosebud Camp are on a flood plain, and need to be completely cleaned up before the snow melts so that the contents of the camps does not wash into the Missouri River and pollute it. Sacred Stone Camp is still welcoming new people, and is above the flood plain (I did not stay there, so I can't speak to it beyond that). Oceti Sakowin Camp is not turning people away, but you should absolutely have a warm place to sleep lined up before you arrive. You can only sleep in the Medic Warming Tent for one night, and if lots of people start showing up then there will be no room there either.
If you travel to the camps, you and your vehicle should be 100% ready and equipped for extreme cold, deep snow, and high winds. You should bring food for yourself and a way to prepare it, and some bulk food donations for the kitchens (meat, cheese, and green vegetables are especially needed). Have a plan for shelter and bring fuel to contribute (wood, fuel bricks, or propane). Be completely sober and help hold others to that standard. Know that there have been assaults in the camps (including rapes) and do not walk around alone after dark.
Know that there is no longer much organization at Oceti Sakowin camp. There is no daily meeting, no newcomer orientation, no central place to go to get a volunteer job assignment, and no system for finding people warm and secure shelters to stay in. Bring your own tools and be willing to work long hours. Sign up for a Compost Toilet Attendant shift at least once a day, which will help you will start to meet people. Stop in to the Construction Building across from the Medic area, and they may be able to direct you to some cleanup projects.
Know that you are of very limited use if you are not a part of a larger Oyate (group or tribe) within the camp. New folks who don't have an established person or group sponsoring them will have to work hard to earn anyone's trust, gain access to the flow of information in camp, and find out where they can be useful. Don't take it personally if you are given the cold shoulder, since there have been many infiltrators and agitators in camp. Basically, I wouldn't recommend that you travel to the camps unless you know someone there who can find a place for you, or you have such a strong spiritual calling to go that you will do what it takes to make yourself useful (I had both). You should also only go if you can contribute several of the following skillsets: processing firewood, shoveling snow, cleaning up abandoned tents and structures, cooking, dishwashing, street medic skills. Licensed mental health providers, medical professionals, and legal professionals, and solar energy technicians, and people who can haul things away in trucks and trailers are also needed.
EDIT, Feb 1, 1:30pm: I just heard that this morning a new resistance camp, Last Child Warrior Camp, was established on high ground west of Oceti Sakowin Camp. This camp is a strategic place to continue protecting the waters during flood season, founded by a combination of the Oglala Camp, Southwest Camp, and Two Spirit Camp from Oceti Sakowin. Chase Iron Eyes is calling for front-line Water Protectors to come join them at the new camp. If you are self-sufficient, winter-ready, willing to follow indigenous leadership, and ready to face police violence, arrest, and felony charges (almost everyone who gets arrested at Standing Rock gets charged with a felony), consider joining them!
This is the 11th hour. We all need to pull together to win this fight. Please contribute however you can!
With Prayers & Solidarity,
Sources used in this post: